How to find happiness at work

According to a recent Gallup poll, 2 out of 3 working Americans don’t feel engaged at work. Indeed, 17.2% feel “actively disengaged” at work.

So what’s the solution?

As CNBC notes, both promotions and raises are important to on-the-job happiness. But, ultimately, job satisfaction is rare.

“Road warning sign” (photo credit: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

As another CNBC article notes, the 15 best jobs in America are:

  1. Data Scientist
  2. DevOps Engineer
  3. Data Engineer
  4. Tax Manager
  5. Analytics Manager
  6. HR Manager
  7. Database Administrator
  8. Strategy Manager
  9. UX Designer
  10. Solutions Architect
  11. Marketing Manager
  12. Occupational Therapist
  13. Audit Manager
  14. Electrical Engineer
  15. Nurse Practitioner

All of these jobs come with a median base salary of $72,000 a year or more, which is key, because another Gallup survey has indicated that $75,000 a year is the “perfect” salary for achieving happiness.

But is work just about money? The Gallup poll suggests no, as most employees rate working with people they like higher than simply receiving a decent salary.

So what’s the real deal?

If you can find a job that pays well and involves working with people you like, you’ve hit the job jackpot!

Looking for a job that’ll fit the bill?

Check out our A to Z posts for some suggestions for cool jobs to fit your interests!

Cool Jobs from A to Z: Reflections

The A to Z Challenge is over, and I’m exhausted! I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the coolest jobs I could find, for each letter of the alphabet. In case you missed any, you can find the full list of posts, in alphabetical order, over here.

I enjoyed writing these posts, although since my month ended up being pretty busy, I didn’t get to read most of my fellow participants’ blogs! I hope to get to some more posts in May, and see what I missed.

Of course, this isn’t the last you’ll see of World’s Coolest Jobs! I’ll keep you updated about even more cool jobs every week. To keep things interesting, I’ll be posting “Friday Fun” and “Odd Jobs,” along with new interviews with all kinds of people doing cool jobs.

I’ll also be turning my A to Z blogs into an expanded book called World’s Coolest Jobs by the end of this year – but I need your help!

If you or someone you know has a cool job, I’d love to hear all about it! I’ve created a self-interview page where you can tell me all about the work you do and why it’s so cool, here, so just click the link and fire away. Even if you’re not sure whether your job qualifies, I would still love to hear from you. Tell me what you like and dislike about your job, and why it challenges you! If I use your answers in the book, I’ll send you a copy on release day. How cool is that?

Thanks for reading along on my Cool Career Challenge, and I hope that my posts have inspired you to keep on learning, growing, doing and searching ’til you find your dream job!

Zippy Zappy Zubby Jobs

Z is for… Zoologist!

What’s zoology? It’s the study of animals and their behavior, as well as how they interact with their environment or ecosystem.

“Hosts Kelly Stoetzel and Rives speak onstage at TEDYouth, Session 2, November 15, 2014, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED” (photo credit: TED Conference)

So what do zoologists do? If you guessed “work in zoos” you’re half right. Zoologists also work in various government positions, including county, state or federal agencies (for instance, the Department of Energy or the Smithsonian), or in private businesses.

“Doris Mable Cochran (1898-1968), measuring a turtle shell” (photo credit: Smithsonian Institution)

Zoologists may work for wildlife conservation groups, rehabilitating animals and releasing them back into the wild. They may also work in the field, observing animals in their natural habitat, like Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey.

Some other famous zoologists include the late great Steve Irwin and Charles Darwin.

Although most zoologists don’t poke animals with sticks, there are certainly many different ways to observe animals in their natural habitats. If you like learning about animal behaviors, watching animals in the wild, or want to protect animals from human encroachment on their land, zoology could be the career for you!

Further Reading

More Zippy Jobs That Start With Z

  • Zamboni Driver
  • Zen Monk
  • Zipper Maker
  • Zoning Manager
  • Zoo Keeper
  • Zoot Suit Tailor

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.

Yippee Ki-YAY Jobs

Y is for… Yard Teacher!

If you’ve ever read Sideways Stories from Wayside School, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Louis the Yard Teacher.

But, have you ever wondered what, exactly, a Yard Teacher does?

As Louis Sachar, who wrote Sideways Stories explains in a profile on the Scholastic Books website:

“After he was at the school for a while, he was asked to be the Noon Time Supervisor. It was his job to watch over the kids during lunch. Sachar played games with the kids who all called him ‘Louis, the Yard Teacher.'”

So, basically, a Yard Teacher is a supervisor or teacher’s aide, who makes sure the kids playing at lunch time or recess aren’t getting into trouble or hurting themselves or each other.

If being a Yard Teacher is anything like Sachar describes in Sideways Stories, this sounds like a pretty cool career indeed.

Further Reading

More Yay-Inducing Jobs That Start With Y

  • Yacht Builder
  • Yarn Maker
  • Yeast Culture Developer
  • Young Adult (YA) Librarian

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.

eXceptional, eXcellent, eXciting Jobs

X is for… Xylophonist!

There aren’t a whole lot of jobs in the world that start with X (particularly without referencing name brands, such as “Xerox Operator/Salesperson”), but one of the most interesting is Xylophonist.

Xylophonists are percussionists that specialize in playing the xylophone. The xylophone, as you may already know, is an instrument made of wooden bars hit with mallets to produce sound. Xylophones are also related to the marimba, balafon, semantron, and metallophones like the glockenspiel and vibraphone. Different types of xylophones can also be found in gamelan ensembles, found in Indonesia.

Here’s a video of “The World’s Greatest Xylophonist,” Teddy Brown:

Of course, there are many other xylophonists in the world today! One of them is Evelyn Glennie, who bills herself as “the world’s premier solo percussionist.” According to Glennie’s TED biography:

“The Grammy-winning percussionist and composer became almost completely deaf by the age of 12, but her hearing loss brought her a deeper understanding of and connection to the music she loves. She’s the subject of the documentary Touch the Sound, which explores this unconventional and intriguing approach to percussion.”

You should definitely check out Glennie’s TED Talk, “How to Truly Listen.”

Further Reading

More eXciting Jobs That Start With X

  • Xenobiologist
  • Xeriscapist
  • XML Specialist
  • X-Ray Specs Dealer (aka Joke Shop Owner/Gag Gift Salesperson)
  • X-Ray Technologist
  • Xylologist

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.